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Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Department of State’

Having studied Russian at Moscow State University and having been a Ford Foundation Fellow in Soviet Studies, Condoleeza Rice was George W. Bush’s Russia expert. No one, Republican or Democrat, questioned her qualifications in that realm.

It is, therefore, stunning that she has chosen to side with Vladimir Putin against her successor at the State Department, Hillary Clinton.

dailycaller.com

Rice Blames Hillary For Russian Election Meddling

Benny JohnsonReporter At Large

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice put some of the blame for Russian election on Hillary Clinton in a wide-ranging MSNBC interview on Thursady

Rice, who has considerable experience with Vladimir Putin, did not hold back on her assessment of the motivations behind Russian election meddling.

She said that then-Secretary of State Clinton criticizing Putin for Russia’s 2012 elections encouraged the foreign leader to seek revenge. Rice said that Putin is an “eye for an eye” kind of person and that he was out to hurt Clinton in order to prove that America could also have flawed elections.

“With Vladimir Putin, this was an eye for an eye. He’s an eye for an eye kind of person, and Hillary Clinton criticized his election. Now he wants to show that he can sow chaos in ours.”

 

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Condi is wrong on several counts.

1. Hillary commented (no she did not “meddle” – that is something different but back to that later) on the 2010 Russian parliamentary elections not Putin’s 2012 presidential election.

In her memoir of her State Department years, Hard Choices, Hillary Clinton portrays Putin’s worldview as “shaped by his admiration of the powerful czars of Russian history” and his view of geopolitics as a zero-sum game. Following the December 2010 parliamentary elections in Russia, widespread reports of fraud brought tens of thousands of protestors out into the frigid Russian streets. Hillary recalls stating, “The Russian people, like people everywhere, deserve the right to have their voices heard and their votes counted…. That means they deserve fair, free, transparent elections and leaders who are accountable to them.” She goes on to describe Putin blaming her for “setting the tone” for the widespread demonstrations that followed the elections. Nothing in Hillary’s memoir nor elsewhere  provides any account of Hillary speaking out against Putin’s 2012 reelection or any protests, for that matter.

2.  Hillary Clinton was not “meddling” when she made her comments. This is meddling. As secretary of state, Hillary was well within her “paygrade” to make a comment regarding elections and unrest in another country.

3. Victim-blaming is always a cheap shot and always wrong! It is especially disturbing coming from a former secretary of state about her successor. I have this quote in the right sidebar here. It bears repetition. “What I have always found is that when it comes to foreign policy, it is important to remember that politics stops at the water’s edge.” -HRC 11-04-10. Had Condi remained at the State Department in December 2010, she, too, would have been expected to comment on the elections and protests in Russia – especially given her academic background. Would her remarks have been so different?

The cyber attacks against independent election observers that Hillary describes in Chapter 11 of Hard Choices foreshadow some of what we saw happen here in 2016. Some. But not all. Not the worst. We also deserve fair, free, transparent elections and commentary about a foreign country from a candidate never justifies elements from that country interfering in our elections in any way.

Reuters Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice meets with President-elect Barack Obama’s Secretary of State nominee Hillary Clinton at the State Department.

 

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China accused of building ‘island fortresses’ as Philippine newspaper obtains aerial images

An aerial picture of Chinese construction activities in the South China Sea

 

The surveillance pictures were mostly taken between June and December last year. Photograph: Inquirer.net/Philippine Daily Inquirer

Beijing has been accused of building “island fortresses” in the South China Sea after a newspaper in the Philippines obtained aerial photographs offering what experts called the most detailed glimpse yet of China’s militarisation of the waterway.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer said the surveillance photographs – passed to its reporters by an unnamed source – were mostly taken between June and December last year and showed Chinese construction activities across the disputed Spratly archipelago between the Philippines and Vietnam.

Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have overlapping claims in the region.

Images from the Philippine Daily Inquirer showing Mischief Reef  Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea

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From 2011.

Vodpod videos no longer available.
South China Sea, posted with vodpod

The South China Sea

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
July 22, 2011

We commend this week’s announcement that ASEAN and China have agreed on implementing guidelines to facilitate confidence building measures and joint projects in the South China Sea. This is an important first step toward achieving a Code of Conduct and reflects the progress that can be made through dialogue and multilateral diplomacy. We look forward to further progress.

The United States is encouraged by this recent agreement because as a Pacific nation and resident power we have a national interest in freedom of navigation, open access to Asia’s maritime domain, the maintenance of peace and stability, and respect for international law in the South China Sea.

We oppose the threat or use of force by any claimant in the South China Sea to advance its claims or interfere with legitimate economic activity. We share these interests not only with ASEAN members and ASEAN Regional Forum participants, but with other maritime nations and the broader international community.

The United States supports a collaborative diplomatic process by all claimants for resolving the various disputes in the South China Sea. We also support the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. But we do not take a position on the competing territorial claims over land features in the South China Sea. We believe all parties should pursue their territorial claims and accompanying rights to maritime space in accordance with international law, including as reflected in the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention.

The United States is concerned that recent incidents in the South China Sea threaten the peace and stability on which the remarkable progress of the Asia-Pacific region has been built. These incidents endanger the safety of life at sea, escalate tensions, undermine freedom of navigation, and pose risks to lawful unimpeded commerce and economic development.

In keeping with the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration, each of the parties should comply with their commitments to respect freedom of navigation and over-flight in the South China Sea in accordance with international law, to resolve their disputes through peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force. They should exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability including, among others, refraining from taking action to inhabit presently uninhabited islands, reefs, shoals, cays, and other features, and to handle their differences in a constructive manner.

The United States encourages all parties to accelerate efforts to reach a full Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

We also call on all parties to clarify their claims in the South China Sea in terms consistent with customary international law, including as reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention. Consistent with international law, claims to maritime space in the South China Sea should be derived solely from legitimate claims to land features

Bolded emphasis is mine.  We never signed onto L.O.S.T. and therefore have no seat at the table. Hillary had also warned about that. See the right sidebar.

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I know this will get me in trouble with some people, but I really don’t care anymore. I am burnt out every which way and sick and tired of people urging another campaign when all they bothered to do (maybe) was vote. Maybe!

To all the people typing #HRC2020, please consider this.

From the moment on May 31, 2008 that the Rules and Bylaws Committee threw Hillary Clinton delegates Obama’s way, a faction of the Democratic Party began saving money.

We called ourselves PUMAs, and the money we saved was with an eye toward a future Hillary Clinton candidacy.

This PUMA faction remained close-knit over the years via social media. There are Facebook groups and a network of people who stayed connected. We were not closed or secret. We were not afraid. We were public, open, and proud. We encountered abuse and fought back. We were dedicated to Hillary and her agenda.

When Hillary declared in April 2015, this faction sprang into action. We were ready. We had stayed in training. We donated, signed up to start fund raising, joined various campaign committees, and volunteered.

Some younger folks quit jobs to join the campaign, travel around the country at their own expense, and volunteer in battleground states. Bear in mind that when they did this, they gave up income and job benefits including health insurance and retirement plans while their student loans remained due. They did it anyway.

The rest of us signed up to volunteer locally. We phone banked, knocked on doors, and traveled en masse by bus to nearby battleground states on weekends to walk the neighborhoods and knock on doors.

Campaigning was at least a part-time job for us. For some it was a full-time job, and we paid to do it. We did it with pleasure and devotion.

All campaigns come to a frenzied end. 2016 was no exception. The primary season and then the general were furiously busy no matter what your role in the campaign was. It was a two-step that we had not been through in 2008. We poured everything we had into it.

After the results on 11/08/2016, the battle was not over. Soon thereafter, official recounts were initiated. We had to round up folks to participate in recounts in some states. The work continued. Many volunteered.

It is very easy to type a hashtag, especially if you had little or no investment in what was done between April 2015 and December 2016.

You are not only demanding that Hillary run and do it all again. You are demanding that all the people who made these sacrifices jump back into action with ease.

Here is the truth. Those that relinquished their jobs to volunteer then had to find other jobs and begin all over again – and, as I said, many still have student loans to repay.

The rest of us depleted our “discretionary spending” budgets over a seven year period to support that campaign.

None of us will be in the same situation in 2020 as in 2016.

Those in their 20s then who gave up their jobs will be going into their 30s in new jobs, building new retirement accounts (we hope), and seniority.

Those in their 30s and 40s then will be inching toward retirement while facing increasing heath benefit premiums as well as college tuition for their children.

Those in their 50s and 60s then will be retiring and no longer have the resources to support another campaign at the amounts they donated in 2015 and 2016.

This last was the demographic with the most money to contribute in the last campaign.

The folks who were in their 70s and 80s in 2016 (also large donors and very active at the younger levels) are and will be dying out.  All the stress, in money and man hours (strange expression – woman/man hours) will be on veterans in the 30 – 70 age group.

There is not a huge base (as we had in 2015)  that will be in their 20s in 2020 that is dedicated to Hillary. That demographic has been decimated by the Bernie Sanders incursion into the Democratic Party.

To demand that Hillary Clinton run again is also to put extra stress on the base that has stood behind Hillary for ten years.

I am not saying what Hillary will or should do. That decision, always, is hers alone.

I am saying that when you make this demand, I hope you have a plan to gather resources supplementary to those we are losing which are many.

I have not seen any of the #HRC2020 folks state, as many did spontaneously in 2008, that they are putting savings away for the 2020 campaign. I have not seen any swear that they will quit their employment to campaign.

The #HRC2020 contingent appears to be nothing but a cheering section.

It does not happen by magic. It does not happen by hashtag. It happens by hard work. It takes money, and for most of us that means that it takes savings.

Not one of us who campaigned hard has regretted the work or the expense. We would do it again. But those are not the people I see demanding Hillary to run again.

Many of us are spent. We need time to catch up with what we spent over the 2015-16 campaign cycle. We cannot save in three years what we saved in seven. Our resources have changed in many cases.

It is way too early to talk about 2020 anyway. If Democrats cannot win Congressional seats in 2018, the Trump agenda threatens to bulldoze all of us.

Put that hashtag to bed unless you are prepared to put your money and your livelihood behind it right this minute and declare so.

I should not even have to tell you to do this since everyone who made that promise in 2008 did so spontaneously, with no prompting whatsoever, made good on that pledge, and worked their hearts out in the last campaign.

It is easy to type. It is not so easy to do the hard work. If you did not campaign, if you did not contribute, please spare us your comment.

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For the first OAS General Assembly of his tenure at the State Department, Rex Tillerson is sending a surrogate.

Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan delivers remarks at the 47th General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Cancun, Mexico, on June 20, 2017.

Today, Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan led the U.S. delegation at the 47th Regular Session of the Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly in Cancun, Mexico.

In his remarks to 33 heads of delegation from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada, Deputy Secretary Sullivan outlined U.S. goals for engagement in the Americas for mutual security and shared prosperity, the principles and values we share with fellow OAS member states, and our support for collective OAS action when these principles and values are threatened, such as in Venezuela.

Read more >>>>

It is not the first time that Tillerson has taken a back seat, and we can wager it will not be the last. Hillary Clinton, when she was secretary of state, often emphasized the importance of face-to-face meetings. It is no secret that the Trump administration plans to pare down the state department and de-emphasize diplomacy in general, but this kind of abdication of presence comes as a shock nevertheless.

Multinational summits and assemblies are prime ground for networking among peers. For Tillerson to turn his back on 33 counterparts from our backyard smacks of lunkheaded isolationism on our part as a nation and betrays a dangerous consolidation of power and authority at the top.

Foreign ministers and secretaries of state knew, when they met with Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, that major concerns voiced to them would be passed on to the president. Depriving these officials of the opportunity to meet with Tillerson eliminates an important conduit.

Hillary Clinton’s first appearance at an OAS GA coincided with a push on that body’s part to readmit Cuba which Hillary opposed without strict conditions on human rights reform. She also, everywhere she went, made a point of meeting not only with officials but also with civic leaders and organizations.

You can read about some of her Latin American diplomacy here.

venezuela-hugo-chavez-hillary-clinton-barack-obama-summit

US Secretary of State Clinton shakes hands with Mexican Foreign Secretary Espinosa after a news conference at the foreign ministry in Mexico City

MEXICO-US-CLINTON

elsalvadorflag

This was “smart power,” as Hillary dubbed it. At summits and assemblies, the presence of the top official is key. Seems now we are reverting to a counter-productive foreign policy.  All power is consolidated in the man at the top and excludes his official top diplomat. This is the Trump Doctrine: Stupid Power.

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Hillary and Chelsea Clinton were not attaching any political subtexts to last night’s Superbowl LI, but they did register their appreciation of a few notables.

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In late January, 2013, only days before she left office, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was joined by former Secretary James Baker to launch the State Department Diplomacy Center.

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In early September 2014, she returned to the State Department again joined by predecessors Henry Kissinger, James Baker, Madeleine Albright, and Colin Powell as well as her successor, John Kerry, for a ceremonial ground-breaking 0f the U.S. Diplomacy Center.

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Hillary returned once more today to celebrate the completion of U.S. Diplomacy Center Pavilion, the first floor of which was dedicated and named the Hillary Rodham Clinton Pavilion. Best compliments, Mme. Secretary! You earned this!  We cannot wait to visit this impressive new landmark museum!

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Just before Christmas six years ago, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rushed to the Capitol to see the Senate vote and ratify the New START treaty.  The treaty was the result of hard work and long cooperation between her and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and their teams. Here is her statement from that day.

Senate Approval of New START

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
December 22, 2010

Today the Senate took a great step forward in enhancing our national security by providing its advice and consent to ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation. I congratulate the Senators of both parties who worked tirelessly to ensure that New START was approved, and I thank all the Senators who voted for this treaty for their commitment to our national security.

Once this Treaty enters into force, on-site inspections of Russia’s strategic nuclear weapons facilities can resume, providing us with an on-the-ground view of Russia’s nuclear forces. The information and insight from these inspections forms the core of our ability to “trust but verify” compliance with New START. A responsible partnership between the world’s two largest nuclear powers that limits our nuclear arsenals while maintaining strategic stability is imperative to promoting global security. With New START, the United States and Russia will have another important element supporting our “reset” relationship and expanding our bilateral cooperation on a wide range of issues.

President Obama and Vice President Biden have been unwavering in their dedication to this treaty to both strengthen our domestic security and reduce the international threat of nuclear weapons. This day would not have been possible without their leadership or the efforts of Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen. I also thank President George H.W. Bush and all the former Secretaries of State who added their support to this Treaty and worked to see New START approved. I and all my colleagues at the State Department look forward to working with our Russian partners to conclude the approval of New START in Russia, bring the Treaty into force, and deliver the global and national security benefits of New START.

It was a wonderful Christmas present for all of us.  It is a treaty and is in place.

Thank you, Hillary, for this important agreement between the U.S. and Russia. We live in a safer world because of your work. Amicable relations between our countries rely on respect for treaties which both leaders have signed and both governments have ratified more than they do on congratulatory notes and mutual admiration between leaders.

The Senate ratification was the final step in a long process.

(Read more about what it took to arrive at this treaty here >>>>)

Mme. Secretary, we wish you and your family a Merry Christmas.  Thank you for all of your hard work and this legacy of success in protecting us. Thank you for the effort you put into your campaign. We are grateful and are always here for you and with you.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, keeps her fingers crossed as she comes to see the vote on the New START Treaty. on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, keeps her fingers crossed as she comes to see the vote on the New START Treaty. on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton leaves after the vote on the New START Treaty, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton leaves after the vote on the New START Treaty, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton walks past the exit to the Senate floor after the Senate ratified the START nuclear arms reduction treaty at the US Capitol in Washington, December 22, 2010. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton walks past the exit to the Senate floor after the Senate ratified the START nuclear arms reduction treaty at the US Capitol in Washington, December 22, 2010. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets people just off the Senate floor after the Senate ratified the START nuclear arms reduction treaty at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, December 22, 2010. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets people just off the Senate floor after the Senate ratified the START nuclear arms reduction treaty at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, December 22, 2010. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS MILITARY)

Happy Holidays to everyone here at Still 4 Hill!  Thank you for all of your hard work this year, too!

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